Packing List- Alps Trekking Tours

Expert recommendations for your Alpine Trek

After years hiking the Haute Route, Tour du Mont Blanc, Bernese Oberland Traverse, and Eiger to Matterhorn trek with hundreds of guests, Alpenwild guides have created a no-fail packing list to make sure you come prepared. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to call or email one of our Haute Route specialists for additional ideas or clarification. This list also is well suited for hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, and the Bernese Oberland Traverse.

For hiking trips other than the Haute Route and Tour du Mont Blanc, refer to our Alps Hiking Packing List. For less strenuous sightseeing, rail, and easy walking tours you'll want to refer to our Alps Travel packing list.  If you are going on a snowshoeing tour, you can find our Winter Hiking packing list here. This page includes affiliate links. 

Recommended Clothing:

  • 1 daypack (or 30-liter backpack for Haute Route)
  • 1 pair mid-weight hiking shoes, can be low-cut or mid-ankle (suggested), and should have a sturdy, vibram-like sole
  • 1 pair trekking poles (optional)
  • 1 set raingear – tops and bottoms, or poncho
  • 1 mid-weight fleece sweater or soft-shell jacket
  • 1-2 pair synthetic hiking pants or shorts.
  • 2-3 T-shirts – with wicking properties.
  • 1 pair long pants
  • 1 long sleeve shirt (wicking preferred)
  • 3-4 pair hiking socks – Wool or wool-blend preferred
  • 1 pair extra shoes for wearing at end of day and in town 
  • 1-2 casual outfits for dinner
  • 1 hat of choice (one with a brim offers good sun protection for your ears)
  • Gloves and a knit hat are highly recommended for cold weather in higher elevations

Recommended Gear:

  • 1-2 liter water bottle or hydration bladder
  • Sun glasses
  • Small towel or microfiber sport towel, for use in the huts
  • Headlamp
  • Personal toiletries, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, sun screen, razor, lip balm (soap and shampoo or body gel are available at all hotels, but not at mountain huts). Most hotels have hair dryers.
  • Woolite or similar for hand washing clothes at hotels
  • Hand sanitizer and/or wet-wipes
  • Face mask (summer 2020)

Optional  Clothing:

  • Sleepwear (for shared rooms or mountain huts)
  • Swimsuit

Optional Gear:

  • Smartphone
  • Camera
  • Ear plugs (for trips that include mountain huts)
  • Sleeping sheet (for trips that include mountain huts)
  • Journal, reading material

Group gear:

On Alpenwild guided trips your guide will carry the following items which are available for your use on the trail and throughout the trip:

  • Smartphone
  • First aid kit (Small, and stocked primarily with anti-inflammatories, bandages, and moleskin)
  • Trail maps, field guides
  • Multifunction knife

Backpack

A 20-35 liter size daypack should be sufficient for your needs, though we strongly recommend bringing a pack with a hip belt.  Quality mid-sized packs can be found from Jansport, Sierra Designs, Mountainsmith, REI, Osprey, Kelty, Dana Designs, and Deuter. You will find that a good majority of these packs include a built-in waterproof cover, but should you need to buy one, you can buy them separately for a fairly inexpensive price. In years past, Alpenwild’s Trip Leaders preferred Deuter packs, which is still an excellent choice.

Hiking Boots

It is vital to have a good pair of hiking boots. When shopping for your boots, be sure to find a pair with proven comfort. These days, the majority of modern hiking boots do not need to be “broken in.” However, you will want to have tested the shoe on different trails and terrain over a period of 8-10 days while carrying a light pack. This will be comparable to the conditions you will experience on the Haute Route or Tour du Mont Blanc and you know if your boots will be comfortable enough for your trip. Both low-cut and mid-ankle boots can be used on these Trekking routes, but it is highly recommended that your boot has a sturdy sole such as Vibram. While on the Haute Route, you will encounter dirt trails with some rocks as well as areas with large boulders where some climbing and hopping may be required. Remember, if your feet are happy, then you will be as well.  You can find great hiking boots in a wide variety from Lowa, Oboz, Keen, Asolo, Vasque, and Merrell.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles are great to have on a long hike. Stability, balance, propulsion, and protection are just some of the benefits of having a set of trekking poles on your hike. We do not require our hikers to have trekking poles; however, nearly all hikers on the Haute Route utilize trekking poles throughout the trip. If you bring trekking poles, be sure that they are collapsible and can fit into your checked luggage. Due to security regulations, you will not be allowed to bring your poles onto the aircraft even if they fit inside your carry-on. At Alpenwild, our Trip Leaders recommend using the Black Diamond trekking poles. 

Clothing

When selecting clothing think about dual-purpose clothes and about layering for warmth and keeping dry. It is better to have several layers you can take off and put on one at a time versus one heavy layer.

It would be wise to use plastic or zip-lock bags when packing your clothes. Also, using vacuum-sealed packing bags will free up the amount of space you have inside your pack.

Rain Gear

Ideally, this is an item that would not be needed. Unfortunately, weather is a factor that must be accounted for. Lightweight rain gear (both tops and bottoms) can be your best friend if Mother Nature decides to add precipitation to your journey. We always recommend Gore-Tex rain gear, but there are other great lightweight rain gear options. Go-Lite and Sierra Designs also make rain gear that performs very well. Many French hikers are seen using inexpensive ponchos that shelter the body and backpack completely. This is also a viable option; it all boils down to your own personal preference.

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